05 Apr Writing A Compelling Case Study – The Proof Is In The Pudding (part one)
Everyone is looking for results. Nobody can afford to throw away money or to leave an opportunity for savings behind. We all know this. But how do you hammer this message home? If you’re a technology vendor, you tell the unique stories of lender clients that have saved money and gained efficiency through expanded technology usage. The problem is that most technology vendors have not perfected the art of putting forth a compelling case about the real return on investment that lenders can expect as a result of automating. Here’s how vendors should tell this story:
In an article called “8 Tips For Creating a Great Case Study” by kissmetrics, the authors suggest that a successful case study crafted by a vendor to talk about how other lenders have effectively used their technology should include:
1. Write About Someone Your Ideal Customer Can Relate To
Do you know who your ideal customer is? The goal is to ensure that once your ideal customer has read your case studies, they will feel:
- You are comfortable in their industry.
- You know their industry’s specific needs.
- You know how to give their industry targeted results.
Think about it on a smaller level, such as when you’re reading a how-to blog post. Most of them are geared toward average readers. But when you come across a how-to post specifically designed for your needs (such as online marketing for the healthcare industry), then you are more likely to understand and apply the information. The same goes with case studies – people who read about results attained in their industry will feel like the same products / services will work for them as well.
2. Tell the Story from Start to Finish
People enjoy reading a story. A great case study will allow someone to really get to know the customer in the case study including:
- Who is the sample customer and what do they do?
- What were the customer’s goals?
- What were the customer’s needs?
- How did you satisfy those needs and help the customer meet their goals?
A final thing you could do is simply follow up with the customer in the case study and update your case study a few months down the road to show how your products/services are continuing to have long term benefits for the customer. This would give readers the opportunity to see that your goal is not only to help with immediate needs, but also to ensure long term results.
3. Provide Easy to Read Formatting
No one really likes to read one huge chunk of text, no matter how interesting and informative it might be. Be sure to use good content formatting elements like you would with articles, blog posts, and copywriting on your website including:
- Bulleted lists
- Bolded & italicized text
In addition to providing great SEO value for your case studies page, these formatting elements will help your readers (especially those that like to skim) find the most important parts of your case study and get a great impression about what your business could do for them.
4. Include Real Numbers
Have you ever read case studies where a business states that they “doubled traffic” for the customer in their case study and wondered if that meant they went from 100 to 200 visits or 10,000 to 20,000 visits? Certain ways of displaying numbers can have an ambiguous meaning. You will want your case study to be as clear as day. So instead of just saying you doubled their traffic, show them real numbers and (if possible) real proof. Of course, remember that not everyone is as familiar with the technology as you are, so be sure to highlight what they should be noticing. This way, the reader can see where the customer began and where the customer ended up with your help. They can see real, tangible results. Plus having the picture proof can help the reader envision exactly what you might do for them, making the case study that much more powerful.
We’ll continue this conversation next week as I share with you the remaining four tips. Stay tuned …